Walter H. Graham of Vero Beach died at his home on July 4 at age 99.
Born in Masontown, Pa., on April 6, 1911, he was preceeded in death by his father W.L. Graham at age 104, his mother Estella Sterling Graham at age 99, a brother, E.W.S. Graham at age 63, another brother, W.L Graham Jr. at age 91, a sister Estella Graham Graeburn at age 90, another sister Elizabeth Graham Damiano at age 90, and his first wife, Mary Cox Graham at age 71.
He is survived by his wife Bette Lanahan Graham, his daughter Marcy Graham York of The Villages, two stepsons Richard (Beth) Lanahan of Vero Beach and Bruce (Holly) Lanahan of Dallas, two stepdaughters Deborah Lanahan (Nathan) Newman of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Patricia Lanahan Denvir of Kansas City, Kan., plus 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grand-children.
In his youth, Mr. Graham was an Eagle Scout and an outstanding athlete. He graduated from Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., and attended Yale University.
fter college, he was employed by La Salle Steel Company in Hammond, Ind., as an industrial engineer and later as a project engineer until he entered the U.S. Navy, where he served for three years until his discharge as a Lt. Senior Grade at the end of WW II.
Upon his return home, he started his own business in the Chicago area. Sensing the growing need for a service resource in the rapidly expanding major appliance market, Mr. Graham created an independent service organization to supply the needs of manufacturers, distributors and dealers in the Chicago and Cook County areas.
Drawing only from the available pool of trained mechanics discharged from the Army, Navy and Air Corps, his company soon had a staff which included over 100 field service personnel, eventually becoming known as the Automatic Appliance Parts Corporation. In 1955 he was instrumental in forming the National Association of Service Managers and remained active in the NASM until he sold his business and retired in 1976.
He was an ardent outdoorsman whose love of bird hunting was only surpassed by his passion for fishing with both fly and spin rods, from New Zealand to Mexico and in America from coast to coast.
For exercise, he took up tennis at age 65 and played regularly until he was 93. In compliance with Mr. Graham’s wishes, there will be no services.